April 21, 2009
The Sixth Sense is a wearable computer with internet
Pranav Mistry, a postdoctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants online life to converge with real life, be it during a conversation at a party or a commute on the interstate. His latest project, a “wearable computer” dubbed Sixth Sense, lays out a path toward realizing this “immersive” vision of the Net. The Sixth Sense is very simple. It has a webcam, projector and a battery pack hung around your neck on a lanyard. The components total cost is $350, plugged into an internet enable mobile phone which is kept in the user’s pocket. This is how it works; you go to the grocery store and pick up a box of cereals. The camera sees this action and identifies the product. An automatic internet search finds its exact specifications, such as the brand and the nutritional factors. The projector then beams a red or a green light onto the item, letting the user know if the cereal meets user-defined criteria like American-made, packaged in recyclable materials etc. As slick and automatic as these capabilities might appear, they do not yet offer a significant upgrade over an Internet-enabled cellphone.
Sixth Sense-type computers with advanced facial recognition capabilities might show information about the people we pass on the street. We would know if he donated to a political candidate, if she writes an environmentally themed blog, or if he appears in a database of registered child predators – all in real time. Ofcourse all these are way long off and not going to be available in the near future but the start is good. The Sixth Sense team along with its growing fan club remains quite excited about the future. Well even I am quite excited about it too.